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First Eloise Garmendia Bieter Chair in Basque Studies to Teach Course

Portrait of Iñaki GoirizelaiaBasque scholar Iñaki Goirizelaia will arrive at Boise State this month to teach a graduate student course titled “Nation-Making: Education and Media” as the first recipient of the Eloise Garmendia Bieter Chair in Basque Studies. Goirizelaia recently ended two terms as rector of the University of the Basque Country, a position which is the equivalent of our university president.

The one-credit course will explore the historical efforts that the Basques have made to re-establish themselves after 40 years of Spanish dictatorship. Their efforts to create a comprehensive political entity entails the creation of a successful and modern educational system and public media structure within Europe. Goirizelaia’s course will be held on March 4 and March 11.

In celebration of this new program, Boise State is hosting two events on March 8: Basque melodies performed by the Boise State Meistersingers and Biotzetik Basque choir happening from 3-4:15 p.m. in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom, followed by a reception from 5-7 p.m. in the Student Union Gallery. The current exhibit in the gallery is Inner Strength: Portraits of Basque Immigrant Women.

These events are free and open to the public.

The Eloise Garmendia Bieter Chair in Basque Studies was created through an agreement between Boise State and the Etxepare Basque Institute of the Basque Government in July 2015. A professor is invited to teach graduate students, with the aim of increasing the study and research of issue related to Basque language and culture. This is one of several chairs of Basque Studies maintained by the Etxepare Institute around the world.

The chair is named in honor of Eloise Garmendia Bieter. Eloise was born in Boise in 1925 to immigrant parents from the Basque Country and remained active in the Basque community throughout her life, as did her husband, Pat Bieter, a former Boise State professor and Basque convert.

In 1974 their family lead the drive to launch a study abroad program connecting Boise State to the town of Oñati in the Basque Country. Eloise and Pat passed away in 1999, but the Bieter-Boise Basque ties remain strong.

This chair strengthens the academic presence of Basque culture at the university and Treasure Valley community. A scholar is invited to Boise State to teach a course to graduate students, with a stay that ranges from a few weeks to a few months.